CARSON, Calif. – LA Galaxy Technical Director Jovan Kirovski and the rest of the club saw the realization of months of work on Wednesday with the creation of the LA Galaxy II USL PRO side.
On Wednesday, following the announcement of the team’s creation, LA Galaxy Insider Adam Serrano spoke with Kirovski to discuss the team’s goals as well as challenges for the future.
LA GALAXY INSIDER: What does the creation of the USL PRO team mean for the LA Galaxy?
JOVAN KIROVSKI: “I think that it’s a massive step not only for our club, but for the rest of the clubs in this country and for player development as a whole. Providing players an opportunity to play 28 competitive games and train in a professional environment, week-in and week-out will help bridge the gap between our Academy program and the first team.”
INSIDER: The team will have a mix of players with the first team, Galaxy Academy players and its own signings. How will the mix work and how is the squad coming along?
KIROVSKI: The squad is coming along quite well. The dynamic of the team will be our youth academy, Homegrown players, some Academy players from college who will come out. We also have youth internationals that we can bring in for trials. These are guys who may have potential to make it to the first team. We also have a few older USL PRO guys for experience and guys coming down from the first team. It’ll be a young group and the average age will be around 22 to 23. We want to find young players to play for the first team. We want this USLPRO team to be a full team of guys from our system. Five years from now, I’d expect our whole team to be from our youth academy. This is the perfect place for our players to develop.”
INSIDER: What went into the decision to appoint Curt Onalfo as the team’s head coach?
KIROVSKI: “Curt was an ideal choice. He’s an experienced coach who has not only been in MLS, but also been around [head coach and general manager] Bruce Arena for a long time. We want to have the same style of play as the first team and he knows the culture of the Galaxy. He was an ideal choice for this project and we’re elated to have him.”
INSIDER: How does the team balance the development aspect of the project and the competitive side? After all, you’re still in a league that teams are looking to win…?
KIROVSKI: “Of course, we’re the Galaxy and we want to win. Every team that we have from the youth teams to the first team, we always want to win and play a certain way. Sometimes, we’ll have younger players who will make mistakes, but that’s all part of it. We do want to win, but we’re going to push our young kids and give them the chance to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes.”
INSIDER: Would an Academy player have to surrender his college eligibility to play for the USL PRO team?
KIROVSKI: “He could play in games. He wouldn’t be able to sign a contract with the team obviously, but he’d be able to train and play in games with Galaxy II. We could move players up and we can move them down because the structure is in place to really develop players.”
INSIDER: When you took the position of Technical Director back in January of 2013, did you see the creation of this team?
KIROVSKI: “It’s ideal when you have young players who are playing with professionals as well as a few older professionals to show them the ropes. That mix is ideal with what we’re trying to accomplish. We want the kids to be professional and to play with professional players, so to have the guys come down from the first team and show them how to be professionals is great. The culture that we want to build is the same as the first team and that’s what really makes it beneficial.”
Adam Serrano is the LA Galaxy Insider. Read his blog at LAGalaxy.com/Insider and contact him at LAGalaxyInsider@Gmail.com